Les Intouchables

The MCR did a great job in screening an Omar Sy classic recently – Les Intouchables. In France, the film is the second-highest-grossing domestically produced film of all time and Sy won the 2012 César award for best actor for his role as Driss.

François Cluzet plays the role of Philippe, an eccentric, rich Parisian quadriplegic. Tired of being surrounded by ‘be-cardiganed milquetoasts’, as The Telegraph put it, he advertises for a new live-in caretakes and hires Sy, a burly black youth from a broken home who apparently applied for the post only to keep the benefits log up and running.

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Man and caretaker soon strike up a camaraderie. Driss is smitten by the grandeur of his new residence and life. Be it larking around the bath or taking pleasure in exotic massages, he seems to have attained the stability in life that he so desired. Philippe also seems to enjoy his new caretaker’s lust for life, and even likes the latter’s lack of pity, his brash way of conducting his social life, his flirtatious advances on Philippe’s secretary Magalie (Audrey Fleurot), his platonic relationship with Philippe’s aide Yvonne (Anne Le Ny) and even his ready access to Marijuana!

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The tale is a simple tale of bonding and the characters are not great dramatic roles, but yet stand out for their charm. The tomfoolery between Sy and Cluzet is often funny. Regional jokes have been paraphrased to include US-friendly punchlines involving Beiber and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Les Untouchable is not really a film about race or disability, or anything other than just a pure bond of friendship. It is a tale of a man who when given a responsibility acts responsibly, setting aside the odd joint and speeding ticket.

A charming, stirring production!

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